Tag: Parenting

Alcohol & My Anxiety

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ALCOHOL & MY ANXIETY

So I went to the doctor to chat about my ongoing anxiety issues (I also have depression but never thought I had anxiety issues); if you want to read about them, check out this LINK.

My doctor is incredible, and after chatting to me about it said “often in these situations people can use something else as a crutch to help you get through: drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc; do you find you’re having to have any of these to help you get through“.

Instantly my mind went to alcohol.

I enjoy my alcohol, I’m not going to lie. I enjoy having a glass of wine at the end of the day (and a couple on the weekend when my husband is around); but always in the back of my mind is “what if it’s too much“.

So I do go through periods of not drinking to prove to myself I don’t need it, but after a shitty day with the kids sometimes it’s nice to unwind with a glass.

THIS IS WHERE MY ISSUE LIES (and what my doctor is saying): when you’re using alcohol to help relieve stress, or take you away from issues. Not just once, not just twice, but all the time.

So when he asked me that question, I said “actually yes, I do drink a glass of wine each night“. It was actually a big thing for me to admit this.

I have actually had this conversation with my husband MANY times; about how I love having a glass of wine, but don’t want it to become something I am dependant on.

It always worries me.

So when I told my doctor, he asked “when was the last drink you had”, I confidently said “not since the 31st December”.

I’m actually partaking in the Fizz Free Whanau challenge where our family gives up fizzy drink. Now because we don’t drink a lot of fizzy, I took the challenge to cut out alcohol; and that’s what I’ve done.

Without alcohol in my system (even just a glass), I am finding I feel a whole lot better in myself. I feel more in control throughout the day. I have a lot more clarity; and heck, I sleep a lot better.

I have since done a bit of research into this, and I wanted to share what I read as the experts have said it much better than I could ever put it:

We think of drinking in two ways: Either you’re a normal drinker. Or you’re an alcoholic. Either you have a serious problem. Or you don’t. But drinking is way more nuanced and much more layered than that.

Maybe you drink a glass of wine every night to alleviate stress or numb the pain. Maybe you drink to temporarily forget your anxiety. Maybe you have a single drink before attending social events because it helps you feel more confident. It helps you to loosen up. Maybe drinking helps to brighten the dark edges of your life. For a few moments. Maybe you’re worried that you look forward to drinking. Too much. Maybe you spend most Sunday mornings worrying about what you said or did the night before.

Whatever the specifics, maybe your drinking just doesn’t feel right.” (taken from Psychcentral.com)

When I read the above my stomach sank because I realised I was like this. Not all of it, but certainly some of it. I read the rest of the article, and finally it went on to say:

Quitting drinking may or may not be right for you. The key is to explore your relationship with alcohol and to remember that there are many dots along the spectrum (not simply “normal drinker” and “alcoholic”). The key is to explore how you’re using alcohol in your life—and whether it’s time to find healthier ways to navigate underlying issues.

Obviously I have stopped drinking and will be re-evaluating where I stand, and I want you to know that by writing this blog, I’m not saying, by any means at all, that every person who enjoys a glass of wine each night has an issue. I’m just saying “this is my story and this is what I relate to”.

I recently said to my husband “I think I might just drink on special occasions until I have sorted the shit out in my head”.

Because clearly I have shit to work through and alcohol shouldn’t be used to combat it. Alcohol serves no purpose other than to numb something; it doesn’t help me deal with it.

I usually like to ask you guys a question at the end but honestly this was more about me just getting the shit out of my head. If you can relate, let me know. If you have any thoughts, let me know.

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Why I’ve Banned The iPad During The Week

 


Why I’ve Banned The iPad During The Week

Our children are 5, and 3, and we allow them to use an iPad at the end of each day for about 30 minutes.

It’s been this way since they were 3.

As heavy users of technology ourselves, we are VERY aware of what is out there in the world. We made a conscious decision a while ago that we would allow our children access to devices but only for a short period each day, and under our supervision.

Of course, sometimes I might have a rough day, or I get sick; in which case the kids do end up on devices more than usual. But it doesn’t happen frequently.

What they watch is YouTube Kids; you know the stuff – unboxing surprise eggs, Ryan’s Toy Reviews, Peppa Pig, etc etc. They are also allowed to play “Slither” (which is a bit like the old school Nokia snake game), and Block Hexa Puzzle (which is a puzzle type game), and Reading Eggs (of course).

Honestly, just the fun stuff.

However lately, my 5 year old girl was asking to play actual games; so we set her up with a Lego game.

It’s a very basic game in which she controlled a character and they walk around performing small tasks, while “fighting” the baddies. It’s relatively harmless, but we started noticing a few things that we didn’t like.

For starters she became a bit obsessed with playing it, and when she couldn’t figure out what to do next, would get very upset.

She would also get extremely emotional when we asked her to go to bed, and to turn the device off. She would scream and cry; which isn’t usual for her.

In fact, I started to worry she was hooked on the game – her attitude was changing and I didn’t like seeing her obsess and get emotional about a device or game.

So my husband and I chatted about it and we decided that we wouldn’t allow any device use during the week. We don’t mind a little of it, but after seeing what was happening have decided to pull back.

In fact, when our kids are allowed to use it, they’ll only be allowed to watch YouTube, and a couple of other pre-approved ones (that I mentioned above). But NO GAMES like that Lego one.

My 3 year old couldn’t care less, and surprisingly my 5 year old took the news very well.

Instead we’ve been playing board games and card games. We will save the device use for the weekend that’s for sure!

NOTE: someone said to me “what’s the difference between tv and a device in your opinion” and I thought I’d let you know my answer: to me a Device is something the child uses and their SOLE attention is on that device. A bit like reading a book – I could talk to my children and they’d be so involved they wouldn’t hear me. The device sits close to their face, and they sit down and literally do nothing but play on it. With the TV, it’s often on in the background and they’re doing other things at the same time. Often they go off and play a game somewhere else.

IDGAF what each family does with regards to device usage but I thought it was interesting to see her change before my eyes when playing a game.

I didn’t like it at all, and thought I’d share the experience with you guys.

Let me know below your thoughts, or if you’ve experienced something similar.

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Netflix, Google & Parenting

 


Netflix, Google & Parenting

I get asked so many weird questions by my kids, at the most random of times. Often it’s in the middle of watching a Netflix show (like Madagascar or My Little Pony) and they need clarification on a word or a subject.

Now I like to think I’m quite smart, and I do know a lot of words and things, but it turns out I don’t know EVERYTHING; and since having children, my brain kind of took an extended holiday and hasn’t fully returned.

So my knowledge of everything, isn’t as good as what it used to be.

So when I get asked “Mum, what does integrity mean?” or “Mum what does ‘house settling’ mean?” my brain has no clue, so I have to take to Google to help me out.

Not only does it help to reeducate my brain, but it also helps to perpetuate the idea that I know everything.

Also, believe it or not, I actually learn something at the same time that I potentially didn’t know before.

Netflix is full of wonderful shows that help educate our kids – My Little Pony AND Charlie & Lola are great at teaching kids about friendship. Madagascar teaches children about different animals and of course The Little Prince teaches children about growing up.

Everything a child watches, they learn from, and naturally there will be some things they don’t know about; so they turn to us to ask questions.

As I said above, that’s where Google comes into play; and helps to continue the idea that “Mum and Dad know everything” …

Plus sometimes, I get watching something with Jason Momoa in it, so I have to Google “What else is Jason Momoa in” so that I can continue my addiction with him ….. PS totally watch The Bad Batch for a nice piece of Momoa.

What weird questions have your kids asked you that you’ve had to Google?

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Dealing With A Homesick Child


© Can Stock Photo / ulkas

 


Dealing With A Homesick Child

Growing up, I got homesick; ridiculously homesick. Friends reading this will probably be nodding their head saying “yep” haha …

As a very close family of four kids (three of us are Irish Twins – which means we are all very close in age), my Mum was a SAHM and as we lived in the country; so we didn’t really go anywhere.

I don’t even think we stayed the night at my Grandparent’s house.

So when it came time where I was of an age to be able to have a sleepover, I’d have to go home because I felt homesick. Quite literally one time my friend’s house was across the street and my parents had to come and get me.

I was at a school camp and I’d be crying, telling people I felt sick, because I was scared and just wanted to go home.

I got homesick a lot.

I often think of this because my kids are growing older and I wonder if they’ll feel the same. So I did a little research and have found the following out:

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WHAT DOES BEING HOMESICK MEAN?
It means you miss the familiar surroundings of your own home, and your family. It’s not specifically just for kids too – adults get homesick too.

WHY DO WE GET HOMESICK?
When you’ve grown up in a place, it becomes familiar. Your family, your house, your routines – these are all familiar to us and help us to feel relaxed. When we go to somewhere new, with people we aren’t familiar with, it takes us out of our comfort zone and often we don’t know what to expect. This can result in feelings of wanting to go home, and being homesick.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?
Obviously letting your kids experience nights away when they’re younger is great but not everyone wants to do that. My kids have only ever spent ONE night away from us, and that was with their Grandparents.

From my point of view, as someone who used to get homesick – I would personally talk to my kids about the fact that it’s ok to feel like they want to come home.

Feeling homesick is normal. Tell your kids that they can always ring and talk to you if there’s any doubt or if they’re feeling scared.

It’s also ok to go and get them. If a child is scared and upset, they won’t have fun, and I am a big believer in not making your kids do things that push them too far.

Obviously at some point they’re going to have to take that leap – but you should judge each situation as it comes.

My parents took me home ONCE and the rest of the time I had to deal with it. I can only imagine how frustrating / upsetting it was for them to have me be homesick, but eventually we do have to learn that it’s ok to be away from home.

© Can Stock Photo / ulkas

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Like I said above, because I got homesick a lot, I worry that my kids will too. Although my upbringing and my kids’ upbringing is completely different.

My kids go out a bit, and to other people’s houses, so hopefully they will feel ok when it comes to their first sleepover.

Did you get homesick as a child? 

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Being Fun Parents

 


Being Fun Parents

Yesterday afternoon when I picked my daughter (5) up from school, she was upset because we are not the “fun parents”. She said that we yelled at her all the time, and that we told her off too much.

She said that she wished someone else was her parents.

I was shocked and a little upset, but to start with I didn’t show her that. I questioned her and what she meant, and we spent the 5 minute drive home chatting about it.

My heart did break.

If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz) you will have seen that when we got home, I changed it up a bit and we did have some fun.

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After the kids went to bed, and Chloe and I had a chat, I realised where the comments from her may have come from.

When she was sick, my Mum came over (her Gran) and she had a lot of fun with her. Just like most kids have with their Grandparents, or Aunties, or Uncles, or ANYONE outside of the immediate parental unit.

When we debriefed together at bedtime, I explained to her that we will always be parents first and friends second – and that every other parent out there is the same.

I explained that “Gran and Pa” will always be more fun than Mum and Dad.

And that’s right – Grandparents (for the most part) have done their time as parents, and it’s their time to enjoy the grandkids.

They don’t have to parent the child 24/7, so they can be the fun ones.

Of course I realise she might not understand this, but one day she will and until then I will be doing my best to encourage her to continue talking to me when she feels upset about something.

I am beyond proud of her for telling me how she felt, and I hear her loud and clear.

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It is a hard wake up call for me but one that I truly appreciate I have the opportunity to have.

Our family have a lot of fun together, but we are always parents first because it’s our job to guide our children in this world.

Yes I do yell at my kids. Yes I do tell them off. But we also laugh a lot more than both of those things and for me that is just as important. Our family is full of fun and laughter, but with guidance inbetween.

What do you think? Parents first, friends second?

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Our Struggle With Asthma

Constantly Sick Child

 


Our Struggle With Asthma

Has anyone seen the ad on TV about New Zealand lactose going into asthma inhalers? It totally blew my mind! It also really touched home for me because Chloe has asthma, and for a long time we struggled because we had no idea what was happening …

BACKSTORY

When Chloe was 4 years old, she developed a chronic cough. For 6 months she would have it, and we had no idea what caused it. When she got a cold, it got worse; much worse.

We tried a nebuliser, and herbal cough syrup.  We raised the head of her bed, and tried eucalyptus oil.  We gave her teaspoons of honey, and started her on probiotics. We even swapped the kids around – so my boy was now in my girls room, and she’s went into his room. Just to see if it made a difference – it didn’t.

We even had her tested for allergies.

We actually ended up in hospital a couple of times because it turned into croup.

The One With The Hospital

Eventually, during one of our hospital stays, her oxygen levels were so low they started considering asthma. Her levels didn’t increase, so she was admitted to a ward and placed under observation.

It was then, the doctors said “yes it’s asthma” and we were given the appropriate assistance to help her at home (inhalers).

It was a really long and rough 6 months though, to get to that point. Nobody got any sleep, and we were incredibly worried for Chloe; and as parents really had no idea what we were doing.

Whilst a lot of people experience wheezing and shortness of breath with their asthma, Chloe had the cough-variant type – which meant she coughed to try and help her lungs get more air, and to clear what was in them (even though there was nothing there, they were just having trouble getting air).

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WHAT WE DO NOW:

After the asthma diagnosis, we were given inhalers to manage Chloe’s breathing – these have been absolutely crucial in stopping the constant cough and giving her system a break from the breathing struggle.

We also worked really hard to ensure her room wasn’t damp, and was at a consistent temperature. We brought in an oil heater which has a thermostat to keep the room warm during the winter nights.

We also invested in an Ultrasonic Vapouriser – which vibrates cold water to produce a fine mist.

As I said above though – the truly amazing thing were the inhalers that we received. Since starting Chloe on this we haven’t had a single problem with her asthma.

I just found out the other day through the ad on TV, that there is inhalable lactose in inhalers. Did you know that the lactose takes the important drug (that helps the asthma) to the part of the body that needs it the most?

In fact, the lactose that’s in most inhalers comes from our very own cows right here in New Zealand; making it the most pure lactose in the world.

New Zealand is the largest provider of inhalable lactose in the world.

I personally find that fascinating and am very proud to have New Zealand milk able to help so many people with asthma, including my own daughter.

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Chloe’s asthma is still under control thanks to the inhalers, and we are absolutely grateful for all the help and assistance we’ve gotten since the diagnosis.

If you’d like to learn more about inhalable lactose, visit the Fonterra website.

Thank you Fonterra for making such an educative advert about inhalable lactose and for sponsoring this post.

Celebrating The Dads

 


Celebrating The Dads

This sponsored post is a collaboration between myself and Noel Leeming, to celebrate Father’s Day.

My husband, Phil, is my rock. I seriously couldn’t do this parenting gig without him.

Early on after our eldest was born, we realised that I struggled big time to get back to sleep at night. So once I fed Chloe, Phil would take over and rock her to sleep and put her down. Once we introduced a bottle, he also helped feed her … this meant I got the chance to go to bed and drift off to sleep without worrying about anything.

Phil, naturally, just lies down and falls asleep – I wish I had that talent!!

For my first Mother’s Day, Phil paid for me to get special ear plugs which meant if I was having a rough day, I could go to bed at night and not hear the children crying – and he would get up to them.

When I was diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression, Phil took it upon himself to take our daughter out as much as possible – to give me a break.

He did, and still does, the main grocery shop on the weekend with the kids – to give me a break.

He used to take Chloe out for long walks, so that I could go back to bed on the weekend (if I needed it), or to catch up on things I had missed during the week (like movies LOL).

He did his best to understand and help me when I was at my lowest point before being diagnosed with Depression.

Even though Phil worked a full time job, he would often come home and cook the dinner for us.

Phil gives the kids a bath every night – that in itself deserves a medal really.

Phil bakes, cooks, cleans cars, mows lawns, fixes the house … EVERYTHING: he does it with the kids.

Phil does his best to understand that although I don’t work in a traditional 9-5 paid job, that I am still working and that at the end of the day, it’s a team effort that gets us through.

Through all the ups and downs that I have experienced, Phil has been the one constant thing in my life. He is the most kind, caring, understanding and loving husband and father I’ve ever known (of course!). I am blessed to have him as my best friend, and my children are even more blessed to have him as their Father.

Now that I have had some experience as a Mother, I can look to my own Father and realise how amazing he is too. Phil is very similar to my own Dad, and I am beyond grateful for my Dad for raising myself and my brothers and sister the way he did.

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Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood. It’s remembering that although they don’t change the toilet roll, or empty the dishwasher, that they’re still great guys.

Being a Dad is just as challenging as being a Mum – it has it’s own challenges. Fatherhood has it’s own ups and downs, and should be recognised just as much as that of the Mother.

The kids and I sat down and we talked about how amazing Dads can be, and how lucky they are to have such an amazing Dad in their life (they’re level of understanding about this isn’t that great, but the more we talk about it the more they’ll get it).

We talked about getting something for Phil, and went to the Noel Leeming website to check out what they had. We used their special Gifting Gizmo quiz, which helps to find the perfect gift, and here are some of the things that came up for Phil that I think you guys might like the look of too …

Just as a note, the first two we already have but we use them both ALL the time and I can highly recommend them ….

As I said above, if you need a little more inspiration – Noel Leeming has set up an online quiz to help you find the perfect gift using the:

Are you all sorted for Father’s Day?

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I have a Google Chromecast from Noel Leeming for one lucky person!!! Absolutely perfect to give as a gift this Father’s Day.

TO ENTER:
Comment on this post! Just tell me if you want it!

EXTRA ENTRIES:
Head back to Facebook and follow the instructions on the post that brought you here.

Closes 31st August 2017. Open to New Zealand residents only – sorry everyone else!

Criticising Myself

 


Criticising Myself

It’s terrible, but I criticise myself and my parenting way too much.

The other day (in fact right now) I look back on my journey as a parent and I seriously question myself.

I look at my children and I think “they’ve gotten this far purely by luck, because I haven’t really done anything for them“.

I look forward to the times alone; I take every opportunity to have a moment to myself and I worry that because of this, I am a useless parent.

I know it’s not true though – I’ve been there for them through thick and thin when they were babies, even if I did dream about being able to go to work and escape the insanity that was parenting.

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I know, like every parent, I stayed up feeding them, burping them and then agonising over trying to get them to sleep.

I know that I teach my children it’s ok to cry and be themselves.

I know that from a young age, every time we went up and down stairs, I would count; so that they would start learning.

I know that we try and teach our children that it’s ok not to like someone, but you have to be kind to them.

I know I have taught them a whole lot of things which lead them to be the way they are now …

But I can’t help but look back on it, and then look at where they are now and think “that’s purely by luck because I honestly don’t feel like I’ve been there at all for them”.

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I’m not the biggest fan of “pretend play” – mainly because I just can’t fully immerse myself in it.

Even though I have a crap tonne of activities here on my website, I often feel too lazy to set them up and do them.

I don’t often bake with my kids because I can’t be bothered with the mess.

I think it’s because of what I said above PLUS the fact that I enjoy the time to myself and feel like even though I’m HERE, I’m not HERE.

I know I am way too hard on myself, but these are thoughts that go through my mind as a parent.

Does that even make any sense?

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The Perfect Parent


© Can Stock Photo / prawny

 


The Perfect Parent

There is no such thing as a “perfect parent”.

I see so many times online when someone writes a comment about how they do something different from others, and out of the woodwork comes the comment “oh here comes the perfect parents”. Or “perfect parent alert!”.

Nobody is perfect.

Everybody is just striving to do the best for their children and their family.

Exclusively breastfed? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Never has takeaways? Not perfect, just doing their best.
No TV during the day? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Washes their kids PJs every day. Not perfect, just doing their best.
Doesn’t allow their child to play on devices? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Able to afford things that others can’t? Not perfect, just doing their best.
Vacuums every day. Not perfect, just doing their best.
Doesn’t yell at their children? Not perfect, just doing their best.

We all live different lives, and have had completely different upbringings. This helps to shape us into the person we are today – defines our decisions we make as a parent.

That doesn’t make anyone “perfect”.

You can’t see what goes on behind the scenes of someone’s life. They might have a perceived one moment of “perfect parenting” but in fact they’re just regular like ALL of us.

If you flip the coin, the same goes for being a “shit parent”. Just because someone doesn’t do what other’s do, doesn’t make them a shit parent either.

Every single person (for the most part) is just doing their best, regardless of what anyone thinks.

Just because someone does it differently from you doesn’t make them any better or any worse than you – it pays to remember that before commenting online.

Have you been called a perfect parent? Or a shit parent?

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My Netflix Suggestions (Part 2)


© Can Stock Photo / damedeeso


My Netflix Suggestions (Part 2)

Stuck on a movie to watch tonight? Or a show to start? Here are is a list from me to you … I have either seen these, or want to see them and are all available on Netflix right now.

Click on the title name to go to the IMDB listing which has the synopsis and rating.

TV SHOWS:

MOVIES:

These are just some of the many that I want to watch and/or have watched and recommend. Netflix is FULL of amazing shows and movies to watch.

To check out my other recommendations, check out My Netflix Suggestions list.

What are you watching tonight?

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